School Reports – Compliance Hell


Compliance is a kind of hell that doesn’t live in the bowels of the earth, it lives on your doorstep, in your letterbox and, at this time of year, in your child’s school bag in the form of a school report.

If you have never written a report for a school-age child, you haven’t lived!  I can give you an idea of what it’s like though …

Something nice to start with:

“Tarquin has excelled in paper dragon crafts.”

and then quickly, quietly, softly…

“…however, he has had issues with homicide and narcotics at school…”

and then lightning fast…

“He did get one point for the house, once, by picking up his own chewing gum. Well done, Tarquin!!”

It’s the same situation for school awards or certificates.  You know what I’m talking about.  It’s November and your child (let’s call him Tarquin) has yet to receive an award.

All the other kids have had them.  Even the Charles Manson one, who sits in a cage to the side of the mat has had one for Excellence in Computing.

You don’t know whether to politely email the teacher and ask leading questions…

“Hi Mrs Brownlie. 🙂 🙂

I was just casually not thinking about how my son hasn’t won an award at all, and strangely suddenly wanted to know what the criteria is for attaining a Principal’s Award?  It’s nothing to do with the fact that Tarquin hasn’t won one.  In fact, we tend to shun the extrinsic award model in our family. We try to implore our children to strive for intrinsic rewards, much like what happens when you give blood.

BUT what is the criteria for winning one of these awards, and what does Tarquin need to do to win one?”

Finally, you crack, and have a casual, quiet word to Mrs Brownlie.  She pulls you aside and lets you in on a secret.

Little Tarquin has bigger things awaiting him.  Perhaps, she suggests, he is in line for the Class Prize, at the formal prize giving at year end?

You run off home, a spring in your step. How you love Tarquin just that bit extra tonight!

And then, the prize giving day arrives.  You seat yourself, smiling the smile of secrecy, of knowing great things will unfold. Hopefully these great things will happen just after the choir sing a version of Lean on Me, but before the Principal’s speech, predicted to go on for 32 minutes.

It turns out the speech itself is a culmination of some pretty shonky Year 11 History where “I have a dream”-meets Rosa Parks-meets Angels and Demons by Dan Brown.

And then, the names are drawn.  Like rifle shots you hear each one.  Tristram Fate, for Services to Service.  Lyle Wagonner, for Excellence in Sociopathy.  And …

“Replica Charles Manson, for Excellence in Computer Hacking.”

Dang it, Tarquin did not make the cut.  You walk back to the car slightly ahead of him, slowly calculating the embarrassment but you decide to take him to Subway for a commiseration foot-long.

He silently munches, looks at you and says “Thank GOD that’s over mum.  I’m looking forward to spending the holidays with you. What are we doing?”

God love you, Tarquin.

And all is well in compliance world, after all.



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